Crystal meth addiction is a growing problem among the country’s youth, but it’s not just young people who find themselves dependent on meth. Adults of varying ages who try the drug are also finding themselves destroying their health and their lives because of this powerfully addictive and potent drug.
Originally considered a “club drug,” crystal meth found its way into the mainstream. The wide availability of the drug has seen it spread in small, rural towns as quickly as in large metropolitan areas. In fact, the Midwest, not the largest and most popular cities, suffers from the worst crystal meth addiction problem in the country, particularly Oklahoma.
Crystal meth is classified as a Schedule II drug, with Schedule I drugs being the most highly addictive and dangerous and Schedule V being the least likely to be abused. It’s is in the same class as drugs like cocaine, but it has become more popular than cocaine, heroin and even the widely available and cheap marijuana, making it the drug of choice for many people today.
Even though crystal meth is a Schedule II drug and not Schedule I, the most addictive class of drugs like GHB, crystal meth addiction is one of the most difficult addictions to break. That’s because the psychological addiction is very strong, and the physical addiction is a devastating one that only feeds the psychological addiction.
The first time a person uses crystal meth his or her brain is immediately altered. Technically, slight brain damage occurs the first time, because it changes the brain’s ability to create and send chemicals like dopamine which give a person a sense of satisfaction and wellness. The first time a person uses crystal meth, he experiences a rush and strong sense of euphoria that it will be physically impossible for him to feel again because of this damage. Often, crystal meth addiction results from the person trying to recreate that rush, but more likely it’s because the person needs the meth to feel joy and satisfaction to a measurable degree.
Because the brain, after just one use, already can’t send messages properly to make a person feel good, the person uses meth again to recreate feelings of happiness. And each time, more damage is done until the person‘s brain can no longer send those chemical messages at all. Now the person isn’t just psychologically addicted to meth by the knowledge that using it will make him feel better, but the physical addiction is real and stronger than many other addictions.
The body can no longer send “feel good” messages, but it wants them in the form the meth provides, so the physical addiction can be a compelling factor in why crystal meth addition is one of the hardest to overcome. Other changes in the brain that make a person not care about anything else including his own hygiene can also make a person severely depressed and prone to psychotic episodes. Recovery from crystal meth addiction lasts several months at minimum, and sometimes people are still struggling years later.